IndieView with Christie Stratos, author of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart
It’s a really good give-and-take process with excellent results. It’s not worth it to rush to publish, even if you’re excited about your book. Anyone who likes dark fiction or enjoys costume dramas and family dramas would like my work.
I actually had to take about a month to mourn where her storyline was going before I could write it. About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? She can’t help that the revelation of Father’s wretched secret coincides with her birth. I don’t outline at all! Anatomy of a Darkened Heart follows the Whitestone family in Victorian America. I knew that submitting it to agents and publishing houses would mean altering my novel to add more fluff and potentially things that don’t really suit it or my style just so it could fit into certain genres or fit a particular convention. Hamlet was a major influence for me in writing the psychological aspects of my work. I don’t have much of a writing process, but generally I start out by using a journal/notebook that suits the mood of my writing. If I hadn’t ever read Hamlet, I’m not sure what my writing would be! If so can you please describe it? And don’t be afraid to get addicted – the collection continues exploring the intertwining threads that weave together the complex tapestry of the Whitestone legacy. If I’m working on the Dark Victoriana Collection, the piece I listen to most often is “Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor” by Bach (full orchestra version). Can she redefine herself and escape her abuse, or will she turn into exactly what she’s always hated? But is it really her fault? What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? I don’t believe in that. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? I have my social media pages and that’s pretty much what I rely on for my marketing! I’m working on the third book in the Dark Victoriana Collection, and it’s going to be a whopper of a dramatic story! Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? Since I’m an editor by trade, I do tend to edit as I go, but I don’t recommend that. How long did it take you to write it? If I get some ideas for the rest of the book, I keep track of them in my dedicated notebook or in Scrivener, but I tend to veer far away from my original ideas anyway. I find that lacking in a fair amount of traditionally published books. It’s great to have that level of passion, but it’s even better to put out something truly excellent and gather permanent readers because of it.
Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) When did you start writing the book? About the book
What is the book about? About Writing
Do you have a writing process? End of Interview:
For more from Christie visit her website, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page. Where did you get the idea from? So I start writing scenes, facets of the characters, general notes, and even printing out images that suit the book, like a physical Pinterest. There’s one scene that is a turning point for Abigail—I can’t talk about it in depth because it’s a spoiler. I started in November of 2014 during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and that helped propel me through a good portion of my first draft. As the shadows grow stronger over her soul and the noose of pain tightens around her neck, Abigail will find out which is stronger: her family’s wicked assumptions about her or her true self. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten on my Dark Victoriana book covers. Marketing is my weakest point. Do you have a target reader? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? Yes, I had it professionally done by Ebook Launch, and I recommend them highly! I had a different original idea of how the story would work, but the characters took over and created a much better story than my original. I have a load of side projects too, but my main focus is always the Dark Victoriana Collection. There was a particular orchestral song I listened to over and over that gave me a visual of a girl in Victorian times, beautiful on the outside but tortured on the inside. What came easily? I do need to mix it up though, so I listen to everything from jazz to cinematic music, Elder Scrolls music to Retrowave. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? No, I just wanted to tell my story in the way I knew was best. Readers who enjoy deep character development and psychological suspense will appreciate it too, as well as other books in the Dark Victoriana Collection. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? At some point while I’m writing in the notebook, I get the overwhelming feeling that I need to move to the computer, and that’s when the official first draft really begins. Do you outline? Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? The characters themselves were very straightforward in my mind, and since my books are entirely based on character development, their clarity and consistency made most scenes pretty easy to write. One of my biggest influences is Shakespeare! I actually had to take about a month to mourn where her storyline was going before I could write it. I’ve also been slowly working on more horror short stories and a contemporary short story to release. It’s hard for me to stop myself, but I do end up editing all along the way. I didn’t want it edited to suit popular markets, I wanted it to be hard-hitting and intense. Christie Stratos – 23 August 2019
The Back Flap
Abigail Delilah is the firstborn of three Whitestone children – and she is the most regretted. Multi-layered with motifs, symbolism, and psychological depth, this tale of dark Victoriana will appeal to the literary reader and the leisure reader alike, combining key facets of several popular genres. But I knew what it would do to Abigail, and I had a very hard time writing it! Originality and getting to the point with proper character, plot, and worldbuilding are most important to me. Get your copy of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart from Amazon US or Amazon UK. I’m a professional editor with my own full-time editing business, Proof Positive, and I hire my senior editor for my own books. I just want to tell a great story, I hate having to do all kinds of research on marketing and advertising. Do you listen to music while you write? I listen mostly to orchestral music. We all know how important it is for writers to read. I borrowed from biographies and autobiographies of victims of abuse. It took less than a year, and its official publication date was October 1, 2015. They’re excellent at listening to what you want and giving you back something way better than you imagined. Take your first step into the Dark Victoriana Collection with Anatomy of a Darkened Heart. Without that, I’m sunk. She can’t help the fear she feels during Mother’s psychological – and physical – assaults. I believe in the book being the absolute best it can be without having to include tropes or clichés that have proven themselves to sell well. Take your time and put out your best work. About You
What are you working on now? I also have a Patreon where readers can get news before everyone else, get exclusive inside looks at excerpts from upcoming books, and get a peek at my research materials, so that’s all become part of my marketing. They’re dysfunctional to say the least, and the story most closely follows the eldest daughter, Abigail, who is the most regretted and mistreated by her parents. Did you hire a professional editor? I used what I already knew to be true about the psychology of abusers and their victims, and I used my reading to help solidify and build out my characters to make them realistic and believable. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? I’m a total pantser. She’s extremely talented, and I trust her completely.